The 355

The 355

2022, PG-13, 122 min. Directed by Simon Kinberg. Starring Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penélope Cruz, Diane Kruger, Fan Bingbing, Édgar Ramirez, Sebastian Stan, Jason Flemyng, Leo Starr.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Jan. 14, 2022

Doggedly mediocre actioner The 355 is the cinematic equivalent of gathering together Formula 1’s finest drivers and tossing them the keys to a Yugo. With two Oscar wins and four Oscar nominations between them, Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Diane Kruger, and Lupita Nyong’o are gonna do some pretty nifty work with a Yugo. Still, actors this capable deserve better gear.

Star and producer Chastain’s instincts were right at least when she pitched the idea of an all-female spy film (yes! please!) to director Simon Kinberg (Dark Phoenix). Chastain plays Mace, a CIA operative sent to Europe to intercept a device intended to wreak havoc on the grid. The specifics don’t much matter – the device is just the bouncy ball everybody’s gotta chase across continents – but now’s as good time as any to point out The 355 utterly fails as a convincing spycraft picture.

Mace’s mission puts her in the path of a German field agent (Kruger), and then a British tech expert (Nyong’o), and so on. An aside here on a movie not delivering on the trailer’s promise, or premise: The assemblage of this international team doesn’t happen as cleanly or as quickly as the movie trailer suggests, and those waiting for the title to be explained – as it is in the trailer – will be awfully surprised when the reveal is curiously delayed until the very last scene of the film.

The cast doesn’t have a ton with which to work. Backstories mostly boil down to the spies’ field of expertise and what they have to lose if the situation goes sideways, and the script is sodden with genre banalities like “You’re good at everything ... except taking orders.” (Kinberg shares screenplay credit with Theresa Rebeck, creator of NBC's Broadway soap Smash.) But through sheer force of charisma, they make these characters distinct and compelling, and they carry the film through an egregious third-act swerve in tone. Cruz in particular brings a terrific nervous-mom energy to her role as a Colombian psychologist unqualified for all the gunplay. (If there’s any justice, Cruz will nab another Oscar nomination playing a more chill mom in Pedro Almódovar’s upcoming Parallel Mothers.) All four of the leads – and Chinese superstar Fan, a later arrival – deliver full-bodied performances. Stunt performers are certainly in the mix, but they all appear to be doing at least some of the ass-kicking themselves.

Much ass-kicking is to be had, as the action skitters between London, Paris, Marrakesh, and Shanghai – a good chunk of it shot on a soundstage in England, convincingly dressed by production designer Simon Elliott. Also dressed immaculately? The entire cast, courtesy of costume designer Stephanie Collie, whose precise work helps clarify the characters and whose playful eye puts Chastain in a damn fedora. To repeat: Yes! Please! The film could use more of that chutzpah.

Showtimes

Mon., Jan. 24

3:55

Tue., Jan. 25

3:55

Wed., Jan. 26

3:55

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Tue., Jan. 25

CC/DVS 7:50

Wed., Jan. 26

CC/DVS 7:50

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Mon., Jan. 24

digital 1:20, 4:20, 7:35, 10:40

Tue., Jan. 25

digital 1:20, 4:20, 7:35, 10:40

Wed., Jan. 26

digital 1:20, 4:20, 7:35, 10:40

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Mon., Jan. 24

digital 12:30, 3:30, 6:30

Tue., Jan. 25

digital 12:30, 3:30, 6:30

Wed., Jan. 26

digital 12:30, 3:30, 6:30

Thu., Jan. 27

digital 12:30, 3:30, 6:30

Mon., Jan. 24

digital 4:25, 7:25

Tue., Jan. 25

digital 2:15, 5:15, 8:20

Wed., Jan. 26

digital 4:25, 7:25

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Mon., Jan. 24

digital 5:15

Tue., Jan. 25

digital 5:15

Wed., Jan. 26

digital 5:15

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 24

digital 2:25, 5:50, 9:00

Tue., Jan. 25

digital 2:25, 5:50, 9:00

Wed., Jan. 26

digital 2:25, 5:50, 9:00

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Mon., Jan. 24

digital 4:20, 7:20

Tue., Jan. 25

digital 4:20, 7:20

Wed., Jan. 26

digital 4:20, 7:20

Mon., Jan. 24

4:05, 7:40

Tue., Jan. 25

4:05, 7:40

Wed., Jan. 26

4:05, 7:40

Thu., Jan. 27

4:05, 7:40

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Mon., Jan. 24

12:40, 3:55, 7:25

Tue., Jan. 25

12:40, 3:55, 7:25

Wed., Jan. 26

12:40, 3:55, 7:25

Thu., Jan. 27

12:40, 3:55, 7:25

Evo Cinemas Belterra

166 Hargraves Ste. A-100, 512/457-0700, www.evocinemas.com/belterra

Mon., Jan. 24

7:45

Tue., Jan. 25

7:50

Wed., Jan. 26

7:45

Thu., Jan. 27

7:45

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Mon., Jan. 24

1:55, 4:55, 7:55

Tue., Jan. 25

1:50, 5:00, 7:45

Wed., Jan. 26

1:50, 5:00, 7:45

Thu., Jan. 27

10:55am, 1:55, 4:55, 7:55, 10:55

Film Alley Bastrop

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, bastrop.filmalley.net/

Mon., Jan. 24

11:15am

Tue., Jan. 25

11:15am

Wed., Jan. 26

11:15am

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Mon., Jan. 24

10:00am, 1:30, 6:00, 8:45

Tue., Jan. 25

10:30am, 3:15, 6:30, 9:45

Wed., Jan. 26

10:00am, 1:30, 6:00, 8:45

Thu., Jan. 27

10:00am, 1:30, 6:00, 8:45

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Mon., Jan. 24

CC 11:30am, 2:25

Tue., Jan. 25

CC 11:30am, 2:25

Wed., Jan. 26

CC 11:50am

Thu., Jan. 27

CC 11:30am

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 24

CC 12:40, 3:50, 7:15
CC/DVS 12:40, 3:50, 7:15

Tue., Jan. 25

CC 12:40, 3:50, 7:15
CC/DVS 12:40, 3:50, 7:15

Wed., Jan. 26

CC 12:40, 3:50, 7:15
CC/DVS 12:40, 3:50, 7:15

Thu., Jan. 27

CC 12:40, 3:50, 7:15
CC/DVS 12:40, 3:50, 7:15

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Mon., Jan. 24

1:50, 4:20, 7:20

Tue., Jan. 25

4:20, 7:20

Wed., Jan. 26

4:20, 7:20

Thu., Jan. 27

4:20, 7:20

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Wed., Jan. 26

4:05, 7:15

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Mon., Jan. 24

CC/DVS 5:00, 8:00

Tue., Jan. 25

CC/DVS 5:00, 8:00

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 24

CC 12:40, 4:10, 7:05
CC/DVS 12:40, 4:10, 7:05

Tue., Jan. 25

CC 12:40, 4:10, 7:05
CC/DVS 12:40, 4:10, 7:05

Wed., Jan. 26

CC 12:40, 4:10, 7:05
CC/DVS 12:40, 4:10, 7:05

Thu., Jan. 27

CC 12:40, 4:10, 7:05
CC/DVS 12:40, 4:10, 7:05

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 FM 620 N., Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Mon., Jan. 24

1:30, 4:45, 8:00

Tue., Jan. 25

1:30, 4:45, 8:00

Wed., Jan. 26

1:30, 4:45, 8:00

Thu., Jan. 27

4:45, 8:00

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Pkwy., Bldg. 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Mon., Jan. 24

4:45

Tue., Jan. 25

4:45

Wed., Jan. 26

4:45

Thu., Jan. 27

4:45

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158, www.southwesttheaters.com

$6.50 children and senior tickets (all-day), $5 Tuesdays (all tickets), Bargain Matinees before 5pm daily.

Mon., Jan. 24

CC 1:10, 6:40, 10:10

Tue., Jan. 25

CC 1:10, 6:40, 10:10

Wed., Jan. 26

CC 1:10, 6:40, 10:10

Thu., Jan. 27

CC 1:10, 6:40, 10:10

Mon., Jan. 24

12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00

Tue., Jan. 25

12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00

Wed., Jan. 26

12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00

Thu., Jan. 27

12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Jan. 24

CC 1:00, 4:15, 7:05

Tue., Jan. 25

CC 1:00, 4:15, 7:05

Wed., Jan. 26

CC 1:00, 4:15, 7:05

Thu., Jan. 27

CC 1:00, 4:00, 6:50

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The 355, Simon Kinberg, Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penélope Cruz, Diane Kruger, Fan Bingbing, Édgar Ramirez, Sebastian Stan, Jason Flemyng, Leo Starr

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